How to Handle Skyrocketing Fraternity Nationals Dues

fraternity dues increase

This question was submitted by one of our readers. If you have a question you want me to answer go here to submit it: Fraternity Advice.


I am currently the fraternity treasurer of a chapter that is part of an international fraternity. For the past few years, national active dues have become a huge burden for our fraternity. These national dues are rising due to other chapters’ irresponsibility regarding alcohol/drug related issues and hazing.

For years, our chapter has upheld a good reputation and has kept risky behavior on check. I hate to have to cough over thousands of dollars just to pay for increasing premiums due to other chapters’ mishaps. What can you suggest for our chapter to do so that our national dues will be cheaper?


There are two aspects to the fees that most (if not all) Greek Letter Organizations (GLOs) charge: Chapter/Member Dues and Risk Management Assessment (RMA) Fees.  Both can be controlled to a certain extent.

Making sure that all members are properly listed on your roster by the billing dates set by your GLO (generally in October & February) can control Chapter/Member Dues.  Members who are studying abroad, men serving in the military (reserve or active duty) who aren’t on campus, and suspended members aren’t usually included in the roster for billing purposes.  This is important for both small and large chapters.

RMA Fees are also affected by the accuracy of the rosters.  Most General Fraternities have some sort of risk management reporting – this allows the chapter the opportunity to tell their Headquarters what they’ve done over the course of the semester/quarter to mitigate or avoid harmful actions/activities.

Some GLOs offer credits for making improvements at the Chapter House (e.g. improved fire alarms, sprinkler systems, local fire department inspections, certain building maintenance completed on a regular schedule, and General Fraternity housing/maintenance checks).

Assuming your chapter does a good job auditing its roster, then the first thing you should do is determine exactly how your General Fraternity generates each chapter’s RMA charge.  For some GLOs it’s easy to do this online; if using the ‘Net isn’t an option, you will need to contact your staff representative.  In either scenario each Chapter can see its actual calculation sheet; it’s possible to get reference material that fully explains each part of the calculation, but it takes effort to truly understand how all the moving parts of the RMA calculation relate to each other.

Ultimately, both parts will go up over time.  The issue for “good” chapters is to control what they can to lessen the increase.

Keep in mind that there are outside influences.  When other chapters make mistakes, as part of the insured group your chapter will suffer.  If or when your GLO loses a lawsuit, your rates will go up.  Since judgments are soaring, it will only get worse!

In some GLOs there are opportunities for a group of chapters to hold another chapter accountable for their actions in some form of judicial hearing or during legislative meetings.  It’s possible in these meetings to clearly indicate your chapter will not tolerate inappropriate conduct on the part of other chapters in your GLO.  This can make a big difference over time.

In addition, colleges and universities have started to become concerned about whether or not fraternities (and sororities) are actually insured, because a few GLOs have lost control of the insurance premiums.  Within the last few years, several institutions have started requiring GLOs on their campus to provide annual proof of insurance.

The bottom line is this: as long as stupid stuff continues, the sky’s the limit on insurance premiums for both “good” chapters and “stupid” chapters.

This answer was written by Bill Foltz, an alumni brother from Lamda Chi Alpha and new contributor for the Bill is also the owner of Courage Communications a freelance company that produces award-winning alumni communications materials for chapters across the country.  If you are interested in writing for – let us know (CLICK HERE)!

This question was submitted by one of our readers. If you have a question you want me to answer go here to submit it: Fraternity Advice.

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